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Sharp

January 8, 2007

The press releases continue to pour out of CES 2007. As regular readers know, I have become a Sharp fan, and I was anxiously waiting for news of the new Sharp LCD TVs. I was not disappointed.

CES has long been the place for bragging rights, to put up prototypes that blow away the imaginations of so many reporters. Sharp did it this time with a 108-inch LCD. That's big! More or less the same size as a 4 x 8 sheet of plywood (no price on this one).

Sharp now has more than 50 models of LCD sets, from 13" to that monster 108".

They're also showing off that previously announced LCD monitor with the 1,000,000:1 contrast ratio, and an LCD display boasting a 4000 x 2000 pixel resolution!

The news I was really looking for was the new line of real-life LCDs, the ones that will replace the old high-end D62U series. It's here, the D92U series: 42", 46", 52", and the old flagship 65" (D93U). The old 42" D62U did not have the same performance as the 46" and 52" models; that discrepancy has been remedied. Everything is better with the D92U sets. No info yet on whether these have HDMI 1.3.

They are of course still full-spec HD (1920 x 1080), or as the industry is now saying -- "Full-HD".

Sharp's panel technology enables an incredible 15,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio for deep blacks and crisp picture quality.

Sharp has also gone to the faster 120 Hz Frame Rate Conversion we've been seeing at CES 2007. Their FineMotion Advanced technology combines this 120 Hz refresh rate with double-frame data interpolation for improved video performance, and yielding a state-of-the-art 4ms pixel response time.

Viewing angle is still 176 degrees. They've gone to their proprietary 5-wavelength backlight system that provides a wider color spectrum to achieve deeper, more vivid reds and greens than was previously possible. They had been using 4-wavelength in the D62U series; LCD sets most commonly use a 3-wavelength backlight (which nobody likes to mention).

Additionally, all units in this series include three HDMI inputs, two HD component terminals, and one DVI-I input, all of which are compatible with 1080p signals from Blu-ray and other new devices, in addition to RS-232C for custom installations.

These newly redesigned models retain the high-gloss piano black finish, and now have detachable bottom speakers and include a detachable table stand.

The 65" D93U model has slightly different cosmetics.

Availability and pricing:

  • LC-42D92U - April - $3,500
  • LC-46D92U - January - $4200
  • LC-52D92U - January - $5,300
  • LC-65D93U - March - $11,000

The next step down is still better than the old D62U series; its the D82U line.

It is full-spec HD (1920 x 1080), and comes on 46" and 52" sizes. They feature a still remarkable 10,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, for deep blacks and crisp picture quality; Fine Motion Advanced technology for 120 Hz Frame Rate Conversion; enhanced Quick Shoot video circuitry for faster pixel response time of 4ms; and wide viewing angles of 176 degrees.

The D82 models also include Sharp's proprietary 4-wavelength backlight system that provides a wider color spectrum to achieve deeper, more vivid reds than was previously possible. Additionally, both models include three HDMI inputs as well as two HD component terminals, all of which are compatible with 1080p signals from Blu-ray and other new devices.

Piano black finish. Availability and MSRP:

  • LC-46D82U - March - $3,700
  • LC-52D82U - March - $4,800.

Another rung down the ladder gives us the D43U 720p widescreen models in sizes 52-, 46-, 42-, 37-, 32- and 26-inch. Dynamic contrast ratios of 6000:1, enhanced Quick Shoot video circuitry for fast pixel response time (6ms) and wide viewing angles (176 degrees).

Piano black finishes. Resolution is 1366 x 768 (not actually the 1280 x 720 that is "720p," but a little better). They now have a PC input.

Availability and MSRP:

  • LC-26D43U -February - $1100
  • LC-32D43U - now - $1400
  • LC-37D43U - now - $1700
  • LC-42D43U - May - $TBA
  • LC-46D43U - March - $2,700
  • LC-52D43U - June - $4,000

Sharp has introduced a new AQUOS HDTV Game Players Series (models LC-37GP1U, LC-32GP1U). These are 1080p LCD sets designed specifically for video game players, in 32- and 37-inch screen sizes. These new models include a "game mode" which optimizes the picture quality for game-playing, and a custom-designed remote control that allows the user to quickly "jump" into the game mode, and access the side-placed terminals for easy connections to video games. The game mode reduces lag time between the game console and the TV to be virtually imperceptible.

The 32-inch panel has a 10,000:1 Dynamic Contrast Ratio, and the 37-inch an 8500:1, for deep blacks and crisp picture quality. Pixel response time is 6ms; and wide viewing angles of 176 degrees.

They also include Sharp's proprietary 4-wavelength backlight system that provides a wider color spectrum. Add three HDMI inputs (with one on the side) as well as two HD component terminals (one on the side), all of which are compatible with 1080p signals from the latest video game devices.

The LC-32GP1U and LC-37GP1U will be available in March for MSRPs of $1700 and $2000 respectively.

Sharp also is showing their new 1080p DLP Front Projector (model XV-Z20000). It uses the latest 0.95"single DMD from Texas Instruments. It has a native 12,000:1 contrast ratio and a brightness spec of 1000 ANSI lumens. The XV-Z20000 is available now for an MSRP of $12,000.

And finally, Sharp is getting more specific about its forthcoming Blu-ray Disc player. It had last shown a prototype DV-BP1 model, which is no longer. The new model is the BD-HP10U. I don't have a picture yet, only that it will be available "in the second quarter of spring 2007." I'm assuming that means second quarter, or Spring 2007 -- let's call it May. Announced price is $1200, as always, subject to change.